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Image 72 of Annual report. 1911

Part of Kentucky Agricultural Experiment Station

54 Bulletiiz. No. 155 Smarts of Wheat. · ` There are two smuts aHecting wheat, the loose smut, when the affected heads are commonly spoken of as » "blasted" heads, and the stinking smut. The former is the more common', and the latter by far the more destructive. ‘ Stivtlcmg Smut. The life histories of these two smuts are quite similar up to a certain stage. In the case of the stinking smut the spores cling to the outside of. the sound wheat grains and when the wheat is planted and germinates, the spores germinate and send out slender colorless threads. These threads find entrance into the young plant by growing into the sprout, and as the plant grows the threads increase and branch, and . are always to be found in the growing part of the plant. When the wheat heads out in preparation for seed produc- tion, the smut threads occupy the head or spike, rapidly ` increase and finally break up into small pieces, each piece forming a spore. The masses of these spores occupy the space normally occupied by the wheat grains, and as the chaff is not affected, it is not easy, unless the head is closely examined, to detect the smut. Upon close examination, however, the head will be noticed to be light and to keep an upright position. The chaff has apeculiar appearance, being looser and more spread out. If any quantity is present , the odor coming from the field always tells of its presence. The covering of the smut masses is quite firm and these masses have a shape and size not unlike grains of wheat, but are shorter and more blunt. They crush easily and in threshing are broken up and the sound wheat becomes covered by the spores; then when the wheat is planted, the spores are ready to germinate and infest the young wheat plant. Besides the direct loss due to the smutted heads, which may be very considerable, the strong, disagreeable odor of the smut is imparted to the wheat, rendering it unfit for milling until thoroughly cleaned and scoured. This extra

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